Depression and Your Weight by Janice Taylor, Life & Wellness Coach, Author, Syndicated Columnist, Seminar Leader and 50-pound Big-Time-Loser.
I know from first hand experience that depression can move someone toward food. (Yes, this ‘happy idiot’ has had bouts of depression.) And I know – again from first hand experience – that ‘eating for depression’ is counter-productive and counter-intuitive. Gaining weight only serves to intensity the depression and add to feelings of worthlessness. So, I put together a list of relatively simple things that help to alleviate depression. Woo Hoo! Let’s MOVE (literally) past depression, NOW!
1. Sleep. Lack of sleep magnifies the effects of depression. Log in 6 to 8 hours each night, and try 15 – 30 minute catnaps throughout the day. Feeling rested, alert and awake is so important for feeling good. It is the foundation of a vibrant, dynamic life.
2. Move. If you are feeling low, move. Just the act of moving from one place to another creates ‘movement,’ and ‘movement’ can help to move feelings of depression out!
3. Exercise. When we exercise or are physically active the brain secretes chemicals, such as endorphins, which make us feel so much better.
4. Meditate. Meditation reduces stress, helps us to sleep better, thus alleviateing depression. Consistency matters. So if you can only ‘sit’ for 5 minutes a day, that’s all right. Do what you can. Hint: when you meditate the same time each day you are creating a positive habit, which will anchor the positive mood that is activated by meditation.
5. Wear Red. Bill Blass says, “When in doubt, wear red.” What great advice!! Dark clothing tends to increase the effects of depression. Color can stimulate positive feelings and red is a real energy color. Reds and oranges are traditionally worn by spiritual seekers in India and Asia: they understood that vibrant colors create a vibrant energy field around the wearer of these wonderfully bright clothes.
6. Eat Healthfully. You’ll feel lighter. Isn’t it a great feeling to know that you’re taking care of yourself? Rather than doing yourself in??
7. Drink Water. Studies show that dehydration can be a cause of depression. So bottoms up!
8. Light. As the season changes from summer to autumn, so goes the light. Research shows that getting 20 minutes of sunlight per day, even by sitting at a window, helps fight depression. Don’t we all feel so much better waking up to the sun’s smiling rays?
9. Smile. What came first, the smile or the good mood? It’s hard to tell. Famed spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hahn has advised that smiling leads to Godliness….and don’t forget the mind-body connection. Our body often affects our mind. Just try this experiment: smile and see if you don’t feel happier. The mind is conditioned to experience smiling with feelings of joy and happiness. Ha ha ha!
10. Breathing. Breathing helps release stress and anxiety which are components of depression. Focusing on the breathing and releasing tightness in the body and worry in the mind lifts the spirit. Breathing exercises have always be an important part of stress reduction programs. Take a few moments throughout the day to just exhale the tension out and breathe in some calm.
11. Pamper yourself. Take the time to see a movie ( a comedy of course!), go to a show, buy some flowers ( the color and scents provide color therapy and aromatherapy which lifts the spirits), talk to a friend–embrace life! You deserve it!
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